Nothing To Blog About

Let’s face it, there’s just not that much going on.

When my husband called me the other day and asked me if I’d seen the news, I said no, what happened?  Mind you, the very first time he ever called and asked the question, it was on 9/11, you can imagine my hesitation ever since.  And usually, my answer is NO:  I’m not a “news watcher”.  I prefer not to follow the news because it’s a largely depressing affair.  The world has gone to shit and I’d prefer not to hear about it every day.

He said:  The British have opted out of the E.U..  Okay, I said, so what does that mean?  And what does it have to do with us?

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Brexit, a Still Life. (posted by Anastasia Piliavsky on Facebook)

I could research this and form an opinion, but I honestly don’t care.  I know exactly two people living in London, one of whom I desperately want to move back to the USA before whatever shit hits the fan, and the other, who has to stay there (family/children/strong anti-U.S. sentiments) and who, ironically, is the only one (on Facebook anyway) who is happy about the exodus.

We have our own problems on this side of the mud hole.  I’m not going to talk about politics much here because, as everyone knows, it’s an ugly, ugly election year, maybe the worst in American history.  I support the most experienced candidate, the one who will, for the first time in our history, shatter the glass ceiling.  What’s astonishing is how few people feel the same and want either Cranky Sexist Grandpa for President or the nation’s biggest Egomaniacal, Racist, Bigoted, Tweet-happy, Liar-pants, Infidel since….  55682798(depending on how many decades you’ve lived on earth).  No one has time to blog with this debacle going on… okay, everyone but me blogs about it, but so what?

Plus, we got a cat.  Not being cat people, we opted for a “feral”, aka”barn cat”; an outdoor cat to help rid the garden and patio of rats.  Everything else had failed – professional exterminator, poison, rat traps, bb gun, death stIMG_6010are….  So, we got a cat and fell in love with
the little guy, who turned out to be anything but feral and not in need of a barn.  Max is his name and he has occupied the past three months of our lives and brought indeterminable joy to the house in addition to ridding the property of rats, just by eliciting his feline scent.  He has loads of personality, enjoys sharing my husband’s bathroom, sleeping tits up, chasing the chickens and social eating.  I put a tracker on him because I’ve learned a thing or two from the whole NSA business and I’m positive he has a girlfriend, even though he is neutered.  This obviously takes up loads of time and leaves little time for blogging.

Also, I am disabled.  It is official now, after a year of State Disability, (at its end this month, sad-face) and me none the healthier, I’ve had to accept certain untenable truths.  social-security-cardIt’s on to early Social Security benefits at this stage of my young life:  I’ve filled out a small hum-vee of paperwork in the application for Social Security disability.  This is a long, arduous process and stressful due to the SS office’s strict policies, rejecting all applications on the first round and forcing the candidate to go months and months without stipend.  Or so I’ve been told.  My two docs, my PCP and my Neuro are both in my corner and standing by, ready to write the appeal on my behalf once I am rejected.  (IF, I’m rejected, hopeful-face). Migraines may not qualify for benefits, which is untrue.  But I remain positive.  What’s to reject?  I’ve experienced rejection my whole life in one form or another, but this situation is legit!  My initial application, started 2 months ago, has not yet been rejected and I’ve been treated kindly so far by a Patty in the Santa Rosa office and a Mr. Hang, in the home office.  I have eagerly shared my “Migraine Log”, my medical records, a list of the myriad of Big Pharma I take to control the pain, and written pages about how the migraines debilitate and destroy my life every week with the offices of Social Security.  Now I am waiting for a medical eval from the physician of their choosing.  I have nothing to lose and a long medical history backing up my claim – I am honestly and on the record as being “fucked”, thanks to migraines.  Oh, and by the way, if you think a self-sufficient person like myself is happy about not being able to earn a living wage for the first time in 30 years, think again.  It’s beyond painful.  Never in my life would I have thought I would need to be financially supported by ANYONE other than myself.

IMG_5948Because we are financially strait-jacketed, I get all my books from the library.  Now, if you read as voraciously as I do, this means you put in hold requests at the library for all the latest books coming out, plus those on your reading list for the past decade or so.  Sometimes, as in this case, a pile of books becomes available at the same time and then you have to allot an exorbitant amount of time to reading – I am not complaining.  This is enjoyable as I am bed-ridden or couch-ridden most of the week.  But as you can see, this much reading leaves little time for writing or blogging.  (Excuses!)

Summer projects, which are actually projects I’ve just never gotten around to since we’ve lived here, continue to pile up.  While my husband was on a restorative solo road trip, I actually got one of them done.  I changed out the aerators in the faucets for both bathrooms (water-saving aerators, thank you PG&E) and installed a new water saving shower head (yup, PG&E again) in his bathroom, elevating the old 50’s shower arm a good 6 inches to accommodate my 6’3″ husband.  Quite proud of myself, really, and obviously – no time to blog when one is occupied with such tasks!

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Mark Lesley, supreme bestie, sorely missed every day and a reason not to blog, which he would be pissed about.

People keep dying, especially people I like a lot.  One of my very best friends, Mark Lesley, who was maybe the only person I ever told about my year in San Francisco, (as in everything about my year in San Francisco), Muhammed Ali, aka Cassius Clay, my childhood hero – there was a brief period in my life I wanted to box professionally, followed by an even briefer period I wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys… Morley Safer, my favorite reporter who ever lived (outside of Dan Rather and Diane Sawyer),  and of course, the snarkiest actor in England, Alan Rickman.  And, no, I don’t give a toss about Prince, I never was a fan.  And for the record, I’d trade all my faux friends on Facebook to have Mark back, not the real friends, just the fakers.  Its a good thing I’m not God, there’d be Hell to pay… yuck, yuck.

Lastly, its effing hot, speaking of Hell.   94 degrees today and so on, for the rest of the Too-Hot-to-Write-240x300summer.  Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t function well in the heat.  I wilt.  I get super cranky. I think about moving to cooler climes.  I fantasize about divorce just so I don’t have to sleep in proximity to another human body.  To go for a swim would mean donning a 12-piece and no one wants to see that.  I count down the minutes from my waking hour until I can turn on the AC.  Did I mention the heat triggers migraines?  Mere minutes of exposure does the trick – I’m obviously somebody’s voodoo doll and the summer sun is the needle. And, I can’t even look at the cat – all that fur! – I have an irrational desire to shave him.  He senses this and hides out somewhere west of crazy during the heat of the day.  Once I’ve cooled off, either superficially with AC or legitimately with a nice evening breeze, he magically reappears, ready to socialize and hang out before his nocturnal forays send him, once again out into the suburban wilds, (dammit, I know he has a girlfriend!)  I can’t even think straight when its hot outside, how on earth can I blog??

If you’re reading this, obviously I beat my Blogger’s Block – you can thank the Brits on a slow news day for this development. It is likely I will blog again once there is some actual interesting news to report, like when the first woman POTUS takes office or when I decide to move toEagle Migration Services Immigration New Zealand 1 New Zealand because my country has decided to elect an insane person as leader of the free world.  Either way, don’t hold your breath.

 

 

 

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All In My Head

In a hand-slap session with a supervisor, I was cordially asked what the problem was.  I had missed a day a week for nearly the entire duration of my employ.  I decided to confess. “I get migraines,” I admitted.  It was a fatal mistake.   A colleague had survived similar questioning following a spate of missed work days by relating them to her time of the month, a subject my male supervisor found uncomfortable and distasteful but entirely acceptable and it was never spoken of again – she works there to this day, missing x-amount of days a month, no problem.   Migraines however… well, the look Mr. Slap-Happy gave me elicited a cartoon bubble over his head clearly reading:  “Migraines aren’t real, they are all in her head”.

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 Migraines are not considered a disease by most – most being your boss, your co-workers, your friends, your stepchildren, social media soothsayers and certain medical geniuses.  Those all knowing souls believe I’m any or all of the following:

Migraine Sufferer  =   A Flake, a Malingerer, a Liar, a Shirker, a Slacker, a Prevaricator

 

I’d call it a disorder, more than a disease.  Migraines are not caused by infection after all, but rather an imbalance between cerebral cortex and neurons.  In my case, the nerves in my neck throw a tantrum (think thirteen-year old at your wedding – true story, by the way) which sends a message to my brain that reads something like this:

Kaboom!  You are dead.  Lie down immediately, preferably curled into a fetal position and crying your face off like the wussy baby you are!  You have no power, there is an icepick in your brain! Surrender your weapons, they’re not going to work anyway.  And don’t even think about getting up for at least 36 hours, pal.

Its the “pal” that gets me.  My neck and head have not been friends for years, turns out.  They communicate only by screaming and no medical mediator can assuage the falling out.  Its like a picture postcard marriage gone sour.  I couldn’t even tell the two weren’t getting along until last year.  By then I’d lost my job, most of my friends and missed umpteen holidays, even my own wedding anniversary.  (I missed Christmas for fucks sake!  No one misses Christmas if they’re only faking it.)

I’m in month seven of my confinement.  Thank you Jesus! for my doctor who advocated for State Disability.  Good ol’ SDI… it ain’t much but its enough to survive on.  Meanwhile I’m the gerbil, the rat in the maze, the chimp with a heart of gold, donating my days to science. I’ve jumped through flaming hoops to appease the insurance company; tried physical therapy, cortisone, poking, prodding, this trial and that trial, multiple drug regimens, trigger point therapy and an average of two to four doctor visits a month.  There have been some bizarre procedures, including one that made my neck look like I’d been bit by a gap-toothed vampire, all billable and extremely lucrative to big Pharma, but absolutely worthless as a treatment for what ails me.

I do a lot of research on my own to try and solve the problem. For instance, The Migraine Scandal  is a link to a video on a website called THE MIGRAINE REVOLUTION.  I’ve experienced much of what the video says happens to migraneurs; I’ve been told my condition is chronic, will require ongoing drug treatment – possibly for life, and to avoid certain “triggers”.  The website calls this THE BIG LIE and of course, they recommend their book to solve the problem, same title as the website.  It runs a cool $40 bucks.  Thats a lot to ask of someone on disability, but if I think of it as a co-pay, I might buy it, just to see if their solutions are legit.  I doubt it though, I feel like someone would have mentioned it before….

I’ve got about 170 days remaining until the money runs out.  That’s enough time to treat, solve, mollify, or obliterate this debilitating conundrum, or not.  It is hopefully, enough time to come up with a viable job, likely something I can do from home if the situation does not improve.  I only get about 2 good days out of a week, so my original idea of becoming an overnight sensation in the literary world during all this “vacation” time has not come to fruition, however my ability to turn the garage into a fix-it-and-sell-it-on-eBay-or-Etsy idea might work out… if a little old granny in Germany can do it, why can’t I?

For now, I’ll try and dodge the migraine fairy, play the insurance game and enjoy my downtime.  If it’s really all in my head, eventually it will leave, right?

 

 

 

From Germany, With Love

Practicing my speech for Best Original Screenplay…IMG_5530

I would like to thank God, my Torpedo 18 and my doctor. Yes, that’s all.  No, I won’t get off the stage, my allotted time is not up and I’m people watching… Does this statue come in tungsten? Hi, Pop! Oh, fine, queue the music, I’m out.

So… it hasn’t arrived yet, the Torpedo.  ‘Tis coming from Neuss, Germany, the older, less attractive sister of Dusseldorf.  I’d never heard of Neuss until my month long internet search for the perfect typewriter turned up the “gute Frau” in Germany, she of the modest shipping fees and fairly priced vintage cache, somewhere over the Rhine:  Neuss, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Neuss gets a bad wrap on internet searches, red-headed, step-child-bad.  You might be a biggot if – bad.  Its like the search engine equivalent of racism or sexism the way the internet guides you straight past Neuss to Dusseldorf.  If he, with the epic comb-over and bombastic political agenda, knew about this there’d be talk of another wall.

Fortunately Neuss, the city, has its own website; you’ll want to check it out and add it to your travel bucket list.  Click this: Neuss, Germany

Turns out Neuss is the more interesting sister.  It boasts an annual marksmanship festival, plays a winter sport called “rink bandy”, has tap water that tastes better than bottled water, and boasts a good quality of life along with impressive economic growth and stability.  Under the Do’s & Don’ts section of the website is this quirky tidbit about quiet time:

“Hours of rest are usually from 1pm till 3pm and from 10pm till 7am from Monday to Saturdays and all day Sunday. It is prohibited to disturb others through noisy activities such as mowing the lawns, listening to loud music or labouring. Many have ended up in court.”

Labouring!  Prohibited labouring, can you imagine?  I’m so there.

Also in the plus column, because of the comings and goings of many nations, Neuss is said to have a noticeably high level of tolerance – if the propaganda is to be believed, Neussians not only want you to visit, they’d like you to move in.

And Dusseldorf used to be a swamp, for the record.